thePlatform launches Cloud-based Virtual TV Framework for service providers

Thursday, September 26th, 2013
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mpx Enables TV Providers to Mirror Live and Video On Demand TV Across Connected Devices

LONDON and SEATTLE — Today, thePlatform, the leading white-label video publishing company, introduced a new Virtual TV Framework to enable cable, satellite and IPTV service providers to replicate their 24 hour, live, linear programming and video on demand (VOD) television services via the cloud. To date, most online video viewing has been limited to VOD or short-term live events because of technical and financial challenges. With decreasing delivery costs and technological advancements in the cloud, this dynamic is poised to change dramatically over the next five years.

Leveraging thePlatform’s award-winning mpx video publishing system, not only can TV service providers mirror the full TV experience via broadband, but they can also create better and more personalized features across IP-connected set-top boxes, game consoles, Smart TVs, tablets, and other devices.

The new Virtual TV Framework provides cloud-based management of linear TV, VOD, enhanced discovery and personalization, targeted adverting, commerce, content protection, and multi-screen user interfaces (UIs). The new Virtual TV Framework is made possible by mpx’s open APIs and best-in-class technology partners, along with underlying innovations in unified metadata management, video ingest, and distribution.

“Our customers can now transition to TV services that incorporate the best of TV, and the best of the Web,” said Ian Blaine, CEO of thePlatform. “Our Virtual TV Framework is the culmination of more than a decade of technical experience managing video for many of the largest TV and media companies in the world. It’s not a monolithic stack, but rather an open framework that gives them greater flexibility and cost control. mpx is engineered to work in parallel with legacy TV systems – leveraging existing infrastructure investments – while providing a clear migration path to an all-IP based architecture.”

Virtual TV Framework

thePlatform’s mpx system provides TV operators with centralized video management via a user-friendly, Web console. Key features of mpx’s Virtual TV Framework include:

  • Linear TV: mpx can work with leading encoding systems to ingest live, linear programming and dynamically apply associated metadata and business policies; orchestrate CDN delivery; and support real-time updates to electronic program guides (EPGs). For example, the EPG could adjust if a sporting event runs long, or the EPG can provide on-screen reminders of upcoming or related shows of interest to individual users.
  • VOD and Catch-Up TV: By managing the VOD library in the cloud, mpx can allow TV operators to offer much larger video libraries across devices than on traditional TV systems. mpx can easily allow operators to promote popular content and back catalogs, and publish across devices. In addition, while linear channels are airing, mpx will soon enable media files and associated cue points for ads and associated metadata to be automatically saved and archived for VOD.
  • Enhanced Discovery and Personalization: mpx allows operators to centralize metadata from providers such as TMS and Rovi, and create their own custom fields and queries. This centralization enables better search capabilities, more dynamic guide navigation, and highly personalized viewing options. mpx integrates with ThinkAnalytics’ leading content recommendation engine to incorporate contextual, behavioral, and social data, along with editorial promotions. mpx can also manage and surface metadata at an asset level (e.g. TV episode), guide level (e.g. show availability), and higher detailed information (e.g. series, actor, awards, etc.). This means mpx enables operators to create features such as “My TV,” which lets subscribers bookmark favorite shows, highlight programs they are known to like, and surface other programs they would likely enjoy.
  • Targeted Advertising: In addition to publishing national ads in linear feeds, mpx enables customers to insert dynamic ads based on operators’ needs, and delivers more Web-like and personalized advertising via key integrations with FreeWheel and BlackArrow.
  • Advanced Video Commerce: mpx also provides a comprehensive video commerce platform to manage digital storefront purchases, subscriptions, subscription extras, customer notifications, cross-promotional offers, and more. In addition, mpx lets operators configure new kinds of content bundles, season or series purchases. For example, at the conclusion of a movie, TV viewers could be prompted to purchase or rent its sequel or prequel.
  • Device and UI support: mpx provides unified distribution to portable devices, such as tablets and smartphones, and living room devices, including new RDK-enabled set-top boxes, game consoles, Smart TVs, and more. Customers can use thePlatform’s Player Development Kit (PDK) and App Dev Kit (ADK) to design and enable video playback across various devices. thePlatform is also tightly integrated with leading UI developer, Accedo, enabling operators to build custom and consistent UIs across IP-connected devices.
  • Policy Management and Content Protection: the Virtual TV Framework also provides the central enforcement system for managing content rights obligations between TV service providers and content owners (i.e. geo-restrictions, windows of availability, etc.). In addition, mpx supports digital rights management (DRM) capabilities from both Microsoft and Adobe.
  • Systems Integration: mpx’s open and robust APIs and SDKs provide operators the flexibility to work directly with thePlatform, as well as with Alcatel-Lucent, to develop and implement comprehensive upgrade plans for their networks.